Carnelian Bay, California

Carnelian Bay, California, boasts some of the top trails and outdoor activities for those seeking scenic outdoor adventures. A must-visit is the Tahoe Rim Trail, a challenging 165-mile loop that offers stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. Along the trail, hikers can spot unique rock formations and vibrant wildflowers. For a more relaxed activity, Patton Landing Beach is a popular spot for paddleboarding and kayaking with its calm, clear waters. Near Carnelian Bay, the Eagle Rock Hiking Trail is a short, steep hike leading to panoramic views of the lake and surrounding forests. Whether hiking, paddling, or simply enjoying the natural beauty, Carnelian Bay offers some of the best outdoor activities in California.

Top Spots in and near Carnelian Bay

  • Carnelian Bay, California

    Carnelian Bay

    5.0
    Located on the northwest side of Lake Tahoe, Carnelian Bay is a fun place to spend the afternoon. However, there is no sand at Carnelian Bay as the ground is all large rocks. It's a great place to go swimming or SUPing in the summer, and it has a pier that you can jump off.  It is usually less cr...
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  • Kings Beach, California

    SUP from Kings Beach

    5.0
    This is a super fun way to enjoy the day, get some exercise and see some really cool parts of the lake that are usually hidden. You can rent boards/ paddles at a few different places either for the day or by the hour. Bring some water, sun block and a camera...if you dare! Once the day is done ...
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  • Tahoe City, California

    Purple Trail and Burton Creek Loop

    3.76 mi / 492 ft gain
    Burton Creek State Park is a moderate hike. It is a secluded peaceful hike that offers amazing views of the lake. This is a popular spot for mountain bikers, but is also ideal for hiking.  Much of the trail is through the forest and there are many maps and signs pointing out the trails. The hike ...
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  • Tahoe City, California

    Photograph the Lupine at Lake Forest Beach

    A quick walk through Lake Forest Beach in Tahoe City, California provides unparalleled opportunities to photograph expansive fields of lupine. These brilliant purple wildflowers cover the lowland shore of this public beach each summer, typically starting in mid-July through mid-August. In drought...
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  • Incline Village, Nevada

    Quick Hike and Photo Op at Stateline

    5.0
    2 mi
    This quick 2-mile RT hike takes you to a lookout point above the Stateline of California and Nevada. The road to the lookout is paved so beginners can make the trek to the top in the summer; winter covers the road with snow, so snowshoes or boots are recommended. The lookout offers spectacular vi...
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  • Incline Village, Nevada

    Walk to the Historic Stateline Fire Lookout site

    5.0
    1.8 mi / 340 ft gain
    The hike up to the Historic Stateline Fire Lookout above Lake Tahoe's Crystal Bay area is somewhat of a misnomer, as the fire lookout no longer exists. Instead, the path, which follows a paved forest road, up to the site where the tower once stood will bring hikers to a panoramic viewpoint that l...
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  • Tahoe City, California

    Paddle Commons Beach

    5.0
    Commons Beach is a small beach and park on the northwest side of the lake. It is located very close to the CA-89 exit, so is ideal for road trip stops. There is a park for kids, and a grassy area near the beach. The beach itself is on the smaller side, but is relatively uncrowded. This area of th...
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  • Incline Village, Nevada

    Bike or Take a Stroll along the Tahoe East Shore Trail

    5.0
    2.75 mi / 300 ft gain
    Lake Tahoe's East Shore Trail is a wide paved walking and cycling path running between Incline Village and Sand Harbor State Park. Opened in 2019, the path lies completely separate from the road, sometimes hovering well above it on the mountainside, and other times running parallel to it on a bri...
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  • Incline Village, Nevada

    Monkey Rock

    4.7
    2.64 mi / 463 ft gain
    Monkey Rock is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Incline Village-Crystal Bay, Nevada.
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  • Truckee, California

    Ride the Truckee Bike Park

    5.0
    1 mi / 50 ft gain
    Truckee bike park is a great destination for all ages of bike riders. There are several different features including a pump track, dual slalom course, dirt jumps, strider track and more! This park is kid friendly but be sure to pack a helmet and pads especially for first-timers. More experienced ...
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  • Sand Harbor, Nevada

    Surf Lake Tahoe at Sand Harbor

    5.0
    Surfing Lake Tahoe is a rare opportunity which only happens when there is a lot of wind. It's nothing like surfing in the ocean. There are mountains in the background, the water is fresh, and generally the waves are small. You can see if there are waves on the drive there (if driving counter-cloc...
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  • Washoe County, Nevada

    Sand Harbor Nature Trail

    4.5
    0.54 mi / 33 ft gain
    While Sand Harbor Park is a popular summer destination, the sunsets from this spot are breathtaking year round and you will have less company in the winter. The park is located right off of Highway 28 and has an admission fee of $7. There is a parking lot that fills up quickly in the summer, so a...
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  • New Washoe City, Nevada

    Sand Harbor Beach

    4.8
    This is what you would call a family beach. It is clean, beautiful, and well maintained. The admission price for vehicles has gone up quite a bit, but based on the economy and the fact that this park remains clean and glass-free, you really cannot complain. The beach gets pretty crowded and they ...
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  • New Washoe City, Nevada

    SUP from Sand Harbor

    4.5
    My favorite is to take a trip from Sand Harbor State Beach to Thunderbird Lodge along the East Shore in Lake Tahoe. Start by traveling to Sand Harbor State Beach, park in the parking lot and bring your equipment to the sandy shore. Hop on your board and begin heading south along the East Shore...
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  • Olympic Valley, California

    Hike the Thunder Mountain Trail

    5.0
    3.2 mi / 2000 ft gain
    The Thunder Mountain Trail is the perfect hike to explore the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Squaw may be famed for its mountain ski runs in the winter, but when the snow melts in the summer, beautiful alpine meadows line the mountain and the ski runs turn into hiking trails! The Thunder Mountain T...
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  • New Washoe City, Nevada

    Photograph Bonsai Rock

    5.0
    Bonsai Rock is a popular attraction for photographers as it is a unique boulder with tiny trees growing out of it, enclosed next to the shoreline. This makes it a beautiful place to enjoy a scenic sunset, as well as play with some long exposure photography.It's located on the east side of Lake Ta...
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Camping and Lodging in Carnelian Bay

Alpine Meadows Campground
Truckee, California

Alpine Meadows Campground

Goose Meadows
Truckee, California

Goose Meadows

William Kent Campground
Tahoe City, California

William Kent Campground

Granite Flat (California)
Truckee, California

Granite Flat (California)

Kaspian Campground
Homewood, California

Kaspian Campground

Prosser Ranch Group
Prosser Dam Road

Prosser Ranch Group

Guides, Insights and Stories from Carnelian Bay

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Review: Body Glove Navigator+ Inflatable SUP w/ Backpack

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La Sportiva Women's Skwama Climbing Shoe Review

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